If you’re looking for a throwback way to usher in your week, Vinyl Night at Benny D’z is the place to go. Since last November, the bar has been hosting this Sunday night special, led by vinyl enthusiast Teflon.
Vinyl lovers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to bring in their collection of vinyl to “relax to some great tunes,” as the bar’s website touts. It’s a great reason for dusting off your old collection for the good of other vinyl lovers and, as Teflon says, “letting it breathe.”
Since it began last fall, each weekly session has run down the alphabet, with the first Sunday of May ushering in all things “M,” from Monty Python to The Monkees and Roger Miller to The Misfits, Taj Mahal and Moondog. The genres represented are widespread and it’s almost guaranteed that you won’t recognize most of the eclectic music Teflon puts on.
That’s the way he likes it. In fact, every Vinyl Night starts with a blast of barely recognizable music from his 2,500-record collection, which has been growing since he bought his first record in 1972.
“Vinyl Night is kind of a way to hear weird and obscure music that you would never ever hear in your life,” Teflon said. “There’s some pop thrown in there, but there is so much out there that you would never hear.
“The less the main, the better the stream,” he quipped.
Although Teflon didn’t come up with the idea for Vinyl Night (which originated at Cherry Lanes last June and then transferred to Benny D’z in the fall), he had the equipment and the passion to take it on.
That, combined with a select group of Vinyl Night goers who lug their 100-vinyl record carrying cases to the bar, is what makes Vinyl Night the chill happening that it is. In fact, when the clock strikes 9 pm, that little corner of the bar transforms into Teflon’s personal music space, complete with lights, speakers and a setup that includes a Pioneer PL-1200 and Stanton T.92 (a DJ turntable complete with USB connectivity, three playback speeds, and reverse play).
But the night isn’t just about dropping the needle and listening to the music – that’s a good half of it, but the other half comes from the conversations you’ll have with the people there. You’re going to hear about their favorite music, how they got into vinyl, where most of their hundreds or thousands of records came from, and memories from the music coming out of the speakers.
You’re free to sit and listen, or to flip through the dozens of records that are brought in. When it comes down to it, it’s the throwback quality of vinyl records that sets this little event apart, which is evident by the number of times I’ve heard the word “warmth” used in conversations about sound quality.
“What I like about Vinyl Night is that you get to listen to stuff that you don’t hear played on the radio,” bartender Melanie Horne said. “People like Lloyd (Baum) and Mike (Munz) bring their collections down and some of it I’ve never heard in my life. Plus I love the sound of vinyl. It’s got that warm, crackly sound.”
At the end of the night, it’s all about good music.
“There’s nothing that’s ever going to match the analogue sound of a record that was recorded with really good equipment, tubes and all that,” Teflon said. “It really makes a big difference.”